via Book Reviews
AusMumpreneur Awards 2019!
#AusMumprenuer update: It is official!
I am facing a panel of judges on the 5th September, and I am so very grateful for this opportunity.
I didn’t realise, when writing Thirteen and Underwater, how far reaching this book could be. Although I did write it with the intent to comfort others, by sharing our journey with those that live with and support a loved one with anxiety, it was also written to educate those that were not as informed or understanding about what living with someone, living with Mental illness, is like, every single day/year, for that person and the family supporting them.
I feel so honoured that I am in this position right now, and to be working with Headspace, and possibly, Ireland’s Jigsaw – is such an enormous privellage.
I actually feel as if I have won the lotto!
Thank you to every single one of you, that has supported me with every step of my journey thus far. It’s simply incredible!
Have you ever had the feeling, that knowing, that life was going to be kind to you and roll in a direction you hoped it would roll? I had a feeling, after the past 24 months, that it was time for things to simply flow in a peaceful, productive, positive direction for me and mine. And I’ve been blown away by the fact, that it has!
I was sitting out in the sun, in my garden this morning with my first cup of tea of the day, getting geared up for hours of uninterrupted writing, and was thinking to myself, ‘Have I done enough this year, to make a real difference? Have I done everything I can, to help the souls in this world, have a better day, life?’
I felt I hadn’t done enough or pushed myself hard enough to make a real difference to anyone, so I thought I’d write a list of what I had actually done so far this year. Sitting down, I began to write down things I’d done from an author/publishers perspective…and once I’d finished, I sat back and felt a small glow of contentment.
Janurary-March: I’d watched ‘Thirteen and Underwater’ come to life with finalising the manuscript, watching the cover evolve to finally holding the proof of my paper baby. That was a magical moment, along with spreading the word to my online Tribe, that Thirteen was coming out to the world soon, and there were so many excited individuals who were looking forward to reading about our journey. I’m pretty sure it was this month too, that we decided to host Thirteens launch party at our home! So renovations that had been quietly waiting for years, were on the go!
March- April: Thirteen was showcased at the London Book Fair, and I was so fortunate to also have Thirteen featured in the powerful, Ymag, magazine as a recommended read! I entered my first writing competition with Writers Victoria, and had a good laugh when I won the April challenge.
I was invited along to be a guest author speaker at the Docklands Library, to talk on the topic of Resilience, with two brilliantly talented Authors, Kelly Van Nelson and Danielle Aitken. This was my first public speaking event, and as nervous as I was, it was an absolute honour to be a part of this night. I think having the gorgeous Susan Wakfield MC this event, and seeing familiar faces in the crowd helped. On top of it being such an amazing event, it was the first time I got to meet my stunning publisher, Karen Mc Dermott of MMH Press, in person!
April also gifted me my first five star review, from Readers’ Favorite. Along with other reviews that melted my heart with gratitude. Of course, the renovations and preparations for the launch were under full swing!
May: 24 days, non-stop prep and reno’s as the excitement kept building. Honestly, hosting a book launch from home is like having a wedding! For me, it was a bigger event than my actual wedding day! And the beauty of the launch day, both our sons got to share this special event with us. Priceless.
May 25th! It was an absolute spectacular day. Can I rewind and do it all again? Yes, it was that much fun. 🙂
June-July: Thanks to a brilliant press-release by talented Nikki Fisher, I was contacted by a local journalist along the Mornington Peninsual, and Thirteen and Underwater’s message was placed in two local newspapers. Unfortunately, the flu hit me hard the day the photographer rocked up to snap me in my gorgeous garden, but, the background looked epic, and Thirteens cover shone, so, very grateful for that! How did this next moment happen……I was nominated for the 2019, AusMumpreneur Awards this coming September! I’ll simply say, thank you. To attend this event and be surrounded by absolute powerhouse women, doing their all to make this world a better place. Absolutely blown away and so looking forward to rubbing shoulders with these super-Mum’s!
Another amazing moment was when my husband and I had the opportunity to join the brilliant MMH PRESS family, with the one and only, my gorgeous publisher Karen Mc Dermott! To be a part of her world, to learn about the publishing industry on a deeper level in order to help those that have a beautiful, heartfelt, soul-filled story to share with the world. I have no words. I’ve always known something huge was going to fall across my path and I can’t fully explain, how I felt when it did. It was that ‘knowing’ feeling. I mean seriously….this month was pretty full on!
Of course, every month I look forward to the meet ups with my Peninsula Writers Group, and any chance for an extra writerly-day is a bonus, with all the talent the Peninsula has to offer!
It was this month, July, after signing and posting books to gorgeous souls, that I felt I needed to step up and do more, when a light bulb moment came to me.
I have been invited to the Mornington Peninsula Writers Festival this October and I thought it the perfect opportunity, for me to give back to a service that had done so much for my family. Beyond Blue are always in my raider, and I do love being a Blue voice member. But I started to think local, and reached out to Headspace, Frankston and am delighted to say, I have a meeting with them this coming Thursday, to work with, promote and donate funds from my book sales. To have this opportunity to work alongside such a giving organisation as Headspace, makes me beyond ecstatic.
Sharing our story, our journey of Thirteen and Underwater is one thing I can do for other Mums, carers, individuals dealing with the often debilitating disorder of anxiety. My Mum wore a Tee Shirt that read, ‘I’m not perfect, but I’m so close it scares me!’
It represented her so well, and makes me laugh to this day, when I think of her wearing it. I also know I’m not a perfect mum. Close…in my heart….But! I’m certainly a very proud one.
So, looking down at my list, of what I’ve done so far, and where I’m heading, I felt that small glow of accomplishment. I have to keep giving, growing, helping, evolving. There are days I still have to motivate myself. Grief really is a nasty little parasite and doesn’t go away…..even 2+ years on, after losing Mum, I struggle. Some days are so much easier than others, and accomplishing many tasks in a day makes me feel like Mother Teresa. Other days, I can wander around my yard wondering what I’m doing here at all, and why don’t I have the mental energy to do more?
I know many can relate to this.
But right now, today I am ready to embrace every opportunity that comes my way, to make a difference and help all I can. Including the bees. I hope you too, are having a great year…..hugs to you all. 🐝🙏🏽😇
May 25th, 2019. The big day arrived, with the sun shining down on us all, after days of Melbourne rain blessing our water tanks. The crowd that gently spilled into my home, was warm, positive, supportive and ready for an absolutely brilliant launch party! Three days later, I am still absolutely blown away by the generous nature, and excited readers, wanting to get their hands on a copy of Thirteen and Underwater for themselves or a loved one.
My very talented MC’s for the day, Journalist and author/poet, Susan Wakefield and New York Times Best selling children’s author, Adam Wallace, certainly entertained all with their, witty humour, creating a fun, not too formal affair. My brilliant Publisher, Karen Mc Dermott, flew into Melbourne after catching a 1.30am flight from W.A and arrived looking as fresh as a daisy, her smile as bright as the sunshine!
The day started with explosive laughter and colourful conversations which continued long after the last guest departed. Family and old high school friends touched me with their willingness to travel all around our gorgeous country to come and help my family and I celebrate such a momentous milestone, with the launch of Thirteen and Underwater. We were thrilled, that Jesse overcame his anxiety and performed his rap he titled, anxiety. Very fitting for our day.
Today, Thirteen launches globally, the day our Jesse turns 18! And I have already had people reach out, sharing their thoughts on the book so far. Will share reviews as they come in. 😉 I was also very lucky indeed, to receive a brilliant review and five star rating, from ‘Readers’ Favorite’.
via Time is a gift.🐝
Grief: Deep sorrow / Suffer a disaster. Just another harmless word in the dictionary, hanging out with all the others in their neat rows, printed boldly on fresh paper, or innocently popping up on your device when you query their meaning, or if you have in fact spelt it the correct way. Some, you never really give much heed to, unless you experience one of them first hand. Like; Constipation: To be Constipated : Unable to empty the bowels easily or regularly. And to be constipated whilst pregnant. They need another definition for that also. Like brick layer!
Back to my new companion at this stage of my life. Grief. Dealing with the death of a loved one, whether animal or human is truly heartbreaking, to the point of some days questioning ‘what is life really all about?’ For me, death and the grieving process are one of the strangest, most puzzling and frustrating things I have dealt with for quite some time. (And considering I have an identical twin, a husband of 23 years, a fifteen year old son who suffers anxiety and a 12 year old son going on 21, this says quite a lot!)
I witnessed my beautiful Mother, Lynette Martin, pass away Boxing Day morning, 2016, unexpectedly and although her passing seemed eerily gentle, for me and my family, was understandably, tragic. Recalling her passing, sends shivers of despair within me, and I can almost feel my own heart stop beating with the heaviness of such sorrow. Such devastating loss. Some days I can hardly breathe, and other days, I don’t want to. But that’s not reality, is it?
Before Mum’s passing, I could do any task quickly, be organised and productive, and smile even when I didn’t feel like it. After Mum, not so much. I head off in one direction, get there and don’t know what I’m doing there in the first place! Days rolling into the next in a haze after too many sleepless nights. Nights where I’d fall asleep from exhaustion and thoughts of lost moments, hours of crying, even when I thought I was all cried out, only to wake an hour later, feeling full of guilt. How dare I rest and escape my pain, when my beautiful mother is no longer in this world! More guilt, as the thought that I couldn’t spoil her for her next birthday, or do anything more for her. And even though I did love so deeply, and did all I could as a daughter….the guilt continued to pummel me. ‘It wasn’t enough….you should have done more!’ On and on. I’d forget that I had a family to feed, as my interest in food was nil. (Thank the stars for an amazing husband that simply took over everything and all as my usual happy little self shutdown!)
Now, here I am, seven weeks on and I can walk past one of the many photo’s I have of Mum around my home and smile, and think of the moment it was taken and all the fun we used to have together, and sweet mischief we did create! I can recall her voice saying one of her usual comments and feel so proud of the woman she was. How blessed was I to have her for my mother.
I used to love ringing her for advice on words, as she was a pro at crossword puzzles, and always had her dictionary on stand by. I will now cherish the conversations we had, and fondly recall many moments, sharing pieces of my writing from The Given, Dark Angel and The Guardian, hearing her thoughts, loving when she cringed, (my favourite reaction!) and crying with her when she cried, as I’d read sections of my son’s Biography, Thirteen and Underwater.
Why did I head this, Life after Death? Because life goes on.With our hearts broken for the loss of a loved one, the loss of more time with them, to tell them, ‘I love you, thank you.’ To hold them and take their scent into your memory one last time. So yes, although I still feel shattered, and have moments where I still can’t believe she is really gone. That in this life, I will never be able to laugh with her, share a burden, chat about family members or grab an old family recipe, get advice and share all the milestones of my children. Although there’s all of that, I still have half of her in me. I have a lifetime of memories. I have my family and friends that loved her dearly also, and together, sharing memories and stories puts her right here beside us once more, if only for that moment. It is a moment that brings a peaceful smile.
Life goes on. Life is short. Yes, life is hard but it is also beautiful. With all the mayhem and unknown in this world we live in today, one thing is certain. We are blessed to love and be loved.
What’s next for me? A lot I’m excited to say. Having my youngest son start High School two weeks ago, has been another one of life’s milestones I would have loved to share with Mum, and another one as equally as huge, and dear to Mum’s heart, is my eldest son starting at Oakwood school next week!
My goals for the next six months, and sooner if my grieving brain will allow, is to revise The Given, finish The Guardian and get ready to start Sins of Sorrento and the follow on book set in my childhood hometown of Glenormiston South.
But before all that, I am getting ready to release Thirteen and Underwater. I have had many people reach out to me, once they heard I was writing a book about the worldwide epidemic that is Anxiety Disorder, and their support has been overwhelming and heart warming.
THIRTEEN AND UNDERWATER is an emotionally charged true story, based on a young man’s dark journey of anxiety.
Told with a mother’s insight, Thirteen and Underwater divulges a life full of love and laughter and reveals the tiny claws of anguish that turn into sharp talons of despair, as her beloved son grows from childhood, into a defeated teenager, grasping at the reins of uncontrollable anger and isolation. As his mother, fighting to do what society expects of her while facing the encalculable loss of her son’s sense of self, the writer questions herself constantly with the emotional draining barrage of, “What am I doing wrong?” Yet she tells their story with characteristic candour and humour.
This is the story of one family’s survival, reflecting billions in the worldwide epidemic. It explores how anxiety can severely affect not just a little boy trying to fight the unseen predator that is mental illness, but the entire family. It is an inspirational story of one family’s refusal to give into the nightmare caused by anxiety.
The after-life. Whether you believe in it or not, makes for an interesting conversation and an even better platform for a haunting novel. I will be doing more research in the months ahead and hopefully get to visit some haunted places and experience that eerie feeling one gets in certain premises when the deceased don’t want to leave this realm just yet. Just have to find a friend brave enough to accompany me!